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Enzyme Potentiated Desensitization (EPD) Print E-mail
by Ron Kennedy, M.D., Santa Rosa, CA

Dr. Kennedy Enzyme potentiated desensitization (EPD) is a method of allergy or immunotherapy treatment using extremely small doses of allergens to desensitize people from their allergies. It has been seen to be effective for inhalant and food allergies, and chemical sensitivities, along with a favorable effect on other serious health problems, some of which are mentioned below. The technique became standard practice in England (where it was originally developed), after the British government took note of the fact that standard allergy shots were responsible for 25 to 30 deaths each year, that EPD was more effective and responsible for no deaths. At this time EPD is offered in the U.S. by around 60 doctors, allergists for the most part, who are participating in an FDA sponsored study.

The technique involves the subcutaneous (just under the top layer of the skin) introduction of an extremely dilute preparation of multiple allergens at one site on the arm and the introduction of a small amount of beta-glucuronidase (the enzyme of enzyme potentiated desensitization) at another site (usually the other arm). The action of this procedure is to normalized the immune system so that it ceases its overreaction to harmless substances. This is believed to occur through the increased formation of T8 suppressor lymphocytes. This line of cells is supposed to be present in large numbers and responsible for holding in check the action of T4 cells. The overreaction of T4 lymphocytes is responsible for allergic reaction and the inappropriate release of histamine. In people who are allergic, T8 suppressor action is itself somehow suppressed.

Because the preparation is so extremely dilute in nature, practically all known allergens can be incorporated into the mixture. The effect is almost panacea-ic (is that a word? well it is now) in nature. Studies show high rates of improvement for all allergic conditions, chemical sensitivities, collagen vascular diseases, and all autoimmune diseases. Even seemingly unrelated conditions such as ADD (attention deficit disorder) seem to respond well.

A rather strict hypoallergenic diet is prescribed for the few days before and after treatment. If allergenic substances are present at the time of treatment there is a risk of becoming even more sensitized to those items.

The total number of treatments required depends on the severity of the condition being treated and varies from three or perhaps more for standard allergies to 20 or more for severe illnesses such as Lupus and other autoimmune diseases. As clinical improvement is achieved the frequency of treatment is decreased and eventually there are periods of years between treatments. Because most allergists rely on allergy shots every few weeks for their income, you can imagine that the knee-jerk reaction of many members of this specialty is negative toward EPD. This is a situation similar to the relationship cardiovascular surgeons have with intravenous EDTA chelation therapy.

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